Money: Sobering Stats on African-American Financial Progress and Wealth

Money: Sobering Stats on African-American Financial Progress and Wealth

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Late last year, The Washington Post wrote that African Americans were the only group that showed no economic improvement since 2000. sThey based their conclusions on CENSUS data. This year there was even more sobering news in a report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). The new study issued last week found “no progress” for African Americans on homeownership, unemployment and incarceration in 50 years. 

Much of what was included in the Economic Policy Institute’s study was sobering data on African American economic progress. Fifty years after the famous and much referred to Kerner Commission Report that identified “white racism” as the driver of “pervasive discrimination in employment and education” for African Americans, EPI concluded that not much has changed.

The Economic Policy Institute study stated the obvious and pointed to glaring statistics. 

Regarding the justice system, the share of incarcerated African Americans has close to tripled between 1968 and 2016 as Blacks are 6.4 times more likely than whites to be jailed or imprisoned.

Regarding home ownership, homeownership rates have remained unchanged for African Americans over the last 50 years. Black homeownership is about 40 percent which is 30 percent behind the rate for whites.  The stat resulted in a headline in The Washington Post that read, “Report: No progress for African Americans on homeownership, unemployment and incarceration in 50 years.”

Regarding income, perhaps the most important economic metric, the average income for an African American household was $39,490 in 2017, it was $41,363 in 2000.

President Trump has been bragging lately that Black unemployment and home ownership is at record lows and highs under his presidency.  What Trump leaves out is the overall statistical data over many years.

Much of what the data shows are connected to systematic policy problems that have been persistent for decades. 

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Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke is a writer, comms strategist and political analyst. She created Crewof42, a blog focused on African American members of Congress, in 2009. Ms. Burke also writes for NBC BLK, The Root, NNPA and is the Managing Editor of Politic365. As part of a diverse career in politics and media, she has served as a congressional staffer for the U.S. Senate Democratic Policy Committee, Communications Director for U.S. Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) and Director of Communications for Justin Fairfax for Lt. Governor of Virginia. From 2014 to 2017, Ms. Burke appeared each Monday on NewsOneNow with Roland Martin on TVOne. Ms. Burke holds a B.A. in History from The American University. She was born and raised in New York. Email: LBurke007@gmail.com. Twitter: @LVBurke. IG: @laurenvburke. Periscope: @LVBurke

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